Gardner better than Pryor? One analyst thinks so

Submitted by M-Wolverine on December 28th, 2009 at 5:22 PM

Sorry, it's the paper that shall not be named, but they did the interview-…

ESPN Scouts Inc. national recruiting director Tom Luginbill says -

“Devin has been far more prepared in the passing game and playing in a scheme that has required him to do some things with his arm on a much more consistent basis than Terrelle Pryor ever was,” Luginbill said today in a conference call. “Terrelle Pryor played in a version of the Wing-T, did not throw the football very much and, quite honestly, was not very efficient throwing the football.

"Going into the next level, Devin Gardner has an advantage there because he has played in a system similar to one he’ll be playing in at Michigan. ... I do think it’s a good fit.

“If you’re a Michigan fan and say we lost out on Terrelle Pryor … they lost out on a great athlete, but there are no perfect players, and everyone had challenges and things they need to work on. In getting Devin Gardner, you’re actually getting a player with similar physical tools and dimensions but probably further along as a passer.”

Compares him to Vince Young more, has high work ethic, and would be shocked if he's not in the mix at QB next year. There's more detail on that, but I don't want to push the fair use practices.


Isaac Newton

December 29th, 2009 at 10:10 AM ^

Denard has excellent passing skills. Physically, his arm is better than Tate's, definitely stronger than Tate's (if you don't believe it, recall which QB was on the field for the hail mary that never got off at the end of the first half against Wisconsin; Denard came in to make the throw to the endzone). He also has a reasonably accurate arm.

Denard's problem in the passing has been deciding where and when to throw the ball. He's thrown the ball late at times (the first interception against Eastern was quite obviously because of a late throw), and he's obviously thrown the ball toward a receiver who was not open.


December 30th, 2009 at 3:00 AM ^

Unfortunately all the things mentioned in your second paragraph figure prominently into overall "passing skills". If Denard could be a reliable threat in the passing game, he'd be a Percy Harvin who could throw. One day for all I know he could get there. My point was that it's pretty silly and homerish to say that it's pretty hard to be worse than Pryor throwing the ball, when we'd love to have one of our Qbs be nearly as good in that respect.

Blue since birth

December 28th, 2009 at 5:36 PM ^

Pryor doesn't seem to have much of a "footbal I.Q." either(to match his lacking I.Q. in general).Not much of a leader or "field general".

It's early to say(obviously) but Gardner would seem to have a leg up in that regard as well.


December 28th, 2009 at 5:40 PM ^

Despite my intense dislike for tOSU, I do believe they will end the Rose Bowl hex. I think the Bucks will slow Oregon down enough and win by a score of 24-21. Their D will win the game for them.

Also agree with Mattbern. Just about every QB in the Big Ten is a better passer than Pryor. But, yeah, he can run.


December 28th, 2009 at 6:05 PM ^

And how do you propose that tOSU will score 24 points? I will be surprised if they score 14. Their D couldn't stop Purdue's spread or USC starting a true freshman QB. Don't give that D too much credit. They've done nothing outside of defending the, mostly pathetic, offenses in the Big 10. Oregon 28 tOSU 14.


December 28th, 2009 at 5:48 PM ^

DG will be very, very exciting to see once he is ready. It will be interesting to see what the Barwis regimen and, more importantly, Rod Smith tutelage will produce.


December 28th, 2009 at 6:05 PM ^

About pryor, as someone who was coached by an elite qb coach his mechanics are garbage. He is a bum as a passer. I recorded DG's state championship on tivo, only watched the first half thus far, but I was shocked at the rotation and velocity on his passes. I knew he was a great athlete but I was shocked at his talent as a passer. I love me the force, but DG can truley be something special for us.


December 29th, 2009 at 10:30 AM ^

I think it goes without saying that redshirting Gardner is the best thing for the long term success of the football program. Of course, if Gardner enrolls early he may make that redshirt decision much harder on the coaching staff. Still, I think the ideal depth chart at QB for 2010 is:

Tate Forcier
Denard Robinson
Devin Gardner

If Gardner is playing in 2010, then one of 3 things has happened:

1. Angry Michigan QB-Hating God has struck with great vengeance and furious
2. Michigan's season has gone horribly wrong under Tate and Denard's leadership and the coaching staff makes the pragmatic move of seasoning Devin early with an eye toward 2011. Again, this possibility is too horrible to consider.
3. Gardner reveals himself to be QB Kal-El and is simply too good to sit on the bench. Exciting but unlikely because 18 year old super-talents are still 18 years old, unless he really is from Krypton.....


December 28th, 2009 at 11:33 PM ^

I went to the state championship game against Lowell (my first time seeing him in person) and came away more impressed with him as a passer than as a runner. He has very good arm strength and like you stated velocity. It was night and day watching him throwing in warm-ups compared to anyone else. He definitely needs to put on a little weight. He has a very thin frame right now which is a major difference between he and Pryor. If he gets near the size of Pryor and continues progressing like he has he will be a very good QB in a couple years.


December 28th, 2009 at 6:35 PM ^

just by watching the suckeyes play, i can tell that "the vest" doesnt trust pryor enough to make his own decisions. much like a parent doesnt let a baby pick out it's dinner, however in this case the baby is 20 years old.


December 28th, 2009 at 6:36 PM ^

I've only seen Gardner in person a few times, but it looks kind of scrawny to me. By scrawny I mean by college football standards, as in he could easily break me in half, but looks small compared to other players. I feel like he really needs a redshirt year to bulk up and then he'll be amazing. This could just be me though. What do those that have seen him play think?

I'm always skittish about sending in true freshman mobile QBs, due to the risk of them getting injured due to lack of size / muscle on the frame.


December 28th, 2009 at 6:49 PM ^

Pryor's problems stem from the fact that he is a spread option QB playing in a pro-ish system for a coach who does not feel comfortable running a wide open offense and who has a shaky track record when it comes to developing QBs at Ohio State (other than Troy Smith every QB who has played for Tressel at OSU has been mediocre or crappy). Ohio State's offense would be scary if they would fully embrace Pryor's talents. Just look at how easily they scored on us this year when they opened up the offense a little bit, versus how they punted every time they got conservative.

BTW Ohio State will beat Oregon. The Pac 10 has no defenses and their spread will struggle from being off for a month.


December 29th, 2009 at 4:03 AM ^

Agree with just about everything in the first paragraph. However, didn't Pryor say he wanted to play in an offense that is closer to a 'pro-style' offense rather then a 'spread-style' offense in college?

WVU's offense didn't struggle against OU or Georgia after being off for a while before those bowl games. Boise's offense didn't struggle against OU after being off a while before that bowl game.


December 29th, 2009 at 11:09 AM ^

What amazes me about OSU offense is that they try to throw as much as they do. When they decided to go spread option, TP was really dangerous. He has great play fake abilities at the mess point, much like Juice at Illinois. He got Graham to commit to the RB multiple times where he kept the ball and went around end.

TP's throwing skills are really poor. he missed at least two wide open deep balls against us that should have been TDs and generally looked confused if he needed to work his progressions.

If TP was a dedicated spread option QB right now, OSU would be far superior to what they have been this year. And regardless of what TP wanted to accomplish in college to prepare for the NFL, he will be a WR in the NFL, not a QB.


December 28th, 2009 at 6:47 PM ^

For the record, Snyder only asked one question on the call, and it was if Luginbill thought that Devin would have a chance to play next year. It seems weird that I had more questions than a guy that writes for a newspaper.

Luginbill said that Rich Rod hasn't been given enough credit for his recruiting he's done so far. I really really wanted to say, "Yeah, Mark."


December 28th, 2009 at 9:40 PM ^

So where's the article on it? We have to do whatever we can to make the Freep's news incomplete, and yesterday's.

He may have asked only one question, but he was the one to publish it first. I know...I tried to find another source to cite it to.


December 28th, 2009 at 6:58 PM ^

Do you guys think he will be moved completely out of the qb position next year?
I feel that he will never have a chance to start/have a significant/winning impact on our team at QB, but rather in the slot or backfield/wingback.
If this is the case, then I guess DG can't redshirt?


December 29th, 2009 at 2:41 AM ^

Depth. We need Denard to be in there if Tate goes down. I feel like his experience would outweigh Devin's natural abilities, especially if Devin isn't able to enroll early. I think everyone agrees that Denard's talents aren't best utilized as a quarterback, but right now that's where we need him, and it's whats best for the team.


December 28th, 2009 at 7:04 PM ^

play in three state playoff games this year (including the finals at Ford Field). He is as impressive a QB as you will ever see in high school, both from a running and throwing standpoint. In the early rounds, he was a man among boys. I think he can contribute some at QB next year but I also believe he needs to enroll early for his contribution to be of any consequence. If he beats out Denard for second spot QB (and I think he will), I sure hope Denard sticks around and moves to another position. Denard is just too valuable and explosive to not have on this team.


December 29th, 2009 at 11:13 AM ^

Tate may wind up as a better QB than TP at some point, but it was clear from the OSU game (and all of the turnovers) that Tate at his current experience level is not ready to be a dominant college QB.

I suspect that Tate will be much improved in 2010 with the year of experience to adapt his game and learn to throw from the pocket, as opposing defenses won't be as poorly prepared for him as ND was. He will continue to be restricted to the pocket and forced to make his reads, with only a few opportunities to scramble and improvise in the passing game like he prefers to do.


December 28th, 2009 at 7:25 PM ^

Even though Gardner has tons of talent he has to take a redshirt next year. Do you guys really want to see another year of growing pains for a true freshman?


December 29th, 2009 at 4:09 AM ^

I really don't want to see a true frosh starting at QB for UM in the fall. I'm hoping to see some nice improvement from tate in both the running game and passing game next fall.

I'm all for giving everyone a shot to earn the starting job, but imo, the only realistic chance Gardner has for that is to enroll early.


December 28th, 2009 at 7:43 PM ^

I want one of our three qb's next year to just become a qb ninja and slay souls of other big ten teams.

But in reality I just want to see progression. A red shirt for Devin would be nice, but as talked about numerous times on this site before...we really don't know what he will do when he gets here. If he compares directly to Vince Young, it would be impossible to keep him off the field.

Hurray for QB Depth!